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UPDATE – Gonzalez v. Google: A New Internet?

Internet remains a space where platforms such as Google can keep hosting user content without any liability, at least for now. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides that internet platforms are not legally responsible for the actions and statements of their users related to their content made available on platforms, will not be subject to any amendments.


Immunity of the Internet Platforms

The Supreme Court, in its decision rendered on 18 May 2023, declined the plaintiffs’ claim to hold Google, which owns YouTube, liable for the content posted by users on and then recommended by the platforms.

Based on this decision, tech companies still enjoy immunity, which can be among others described as follows:

  • Internet platforms are not legally liable, even if the platforms are being used to share and promote terrorism related content.
  • Targeted recommendations made through algorithm on internet platforms do not trigger the liability, regardless of the form or type of the recommendations.
  • Users of internet platforms are solely responsible for their posts, which means that claims should be directly addressed to the concerned user and not to the internet platform.
  • Internet platforms cannot be forced to remove user content.

Christoph Scholz – Glasfaser Bund Internet

Impact of the Decision

This decision of the Supreme Court reflects the importance of internet platforms in the way the users communicate and share information. Considering those platforms as speakers and publishers of user content would cause the platforms to consistently put down posts to avoid any potential legal liability. It would also mean that the internet platforms would face legal suits anytime an organization such as ISIS post a content or commit terrorist acts.

Due to the fact that internet platforms are used by everybody, including terrorist organizations, a fair reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act seems to be a difficult task.




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